If you don’t know anything about Georgia’s new defensive line coach, join the club. I looked around for a few comments assessing Tray Scott and found these, for what they’re worth.
Dawgs247 reached out to someone very familiar with Scott. Nathan O’Neal, a defensive line trainer with VIP Training, has helped develop over 40 defensive linemen for college football and has trained dozens of NFL players as well. One of O’Neal’s clients is North Carolina defensive end Tomon Fox. As a true freshman in 2016, Fox had a fumble recovery against Georgia in the season opener and four tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery against Illinois the following week before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
O’Neal gave his initial thoughts on the addition of Scott to Georgia’s staff.
“That’s a great hire. Coach Scott, number one, he comes from one of the best defensive line coaches of all time as his mentor, and that is Pete Jenkins,” O’Neal said. “Coach Jenkins has developed so many guys who are currently defensive line coaches in college football and the NFL.”
… According to O’Neal, Scott will have an easy transition into the Bulldogs’ defensive scheme.
“Kirby Smart, as a defensive coordinator at Alabama, had defensive line coaches with Pete Jenkins ties,” O’Neal said. “So everything they want to do defensively, Coach Scott has learned from the best source in how to develop guys for that system. It’s a perfect fit.”
While Scott has only had two years recruiting as an on-the-field coach at the FBS level, O’Neal feels he has a chance to become a stout addition for Georgia.
“He is a young, hungry guy,” O’Neal said. “He is very honest and up front with his recruits – which is really becoming the common factor on that Georgia staff. He is going to help Kirby Smart lock down the state of Georgia for Georgia.”
According to Tarheel Illustrated publisher Andrew Jones – who covered the newest Georgia assistant the past two years at North Carolina – its someone who’s not afraid to get down and dirty with his players.
“I’ve spent a lot of time watching him and the kids love him. He’s really hands-on, he’s involved and he gets as sweaty as the kids are,” Jones said. “He looks like a player. He gets down in there, he does drills with them and he shows them stuff. He’ll get down in a four-point stance and he’ll hit the dummy like he’s competing for a starting job.”
Scott, who comes to Georgia from Ole Miss where he had just been hired by Hugh Freeze, helped improve the run defense for the Tar Heels, who switched over from a 4-2-5 prior to last year.
“He wasn’t dealt a great hand to work with because they were transitioning from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3 base and their 4-2-5 was really small,” Jones said. “But they did improve a lot. Their run defense, as much maligned as it has been, has really made a lot of progress. I know that Nazair Jones (former UNC defensive lineman who is leaving early for the NFL Draft) spoke very highly about Coach Scott, teaching him to play lower and more aggressive. And I would say that’s where they probably made their most strides– that, and handling their gap responsibilities better.”
And, best of all, from Latrell Murchison:
Tray Scott was only at Ole Miss for six weeks, but one of his first actions was to go visit a junior college defensive lineman, who was so impressed by Scott that he committed within days.
The player, in one of those many ironies of recruiting, was Larrell Murchison, who would eventually switch (silently) his commitment to Georgia, only to end up at N.C. State. Then on Wednesday, upon hearing the news that Scott was headed to Georgia, all Murchison could say was how lucky the Bulldogs were.
“They’re definitely getting a good one,” Murchison said. “Just being recruited by him the last month, I could tell what kind of person he was. Definitely a great dude to work with.”
Murchison is philosophical about his fate, which is a sensible approach when recruiting is largely a business decision these days.
Murchison was somebody that Scott had pinpointed when he was at North Carolina, just going off of film. At the time he was a rather lightly-recruited defensive tackle at Louisburg (N.C.) junior college. Upon his hiring at Ole Miss, Scott jumped on Murchison, who quickly committed, only to switch to Rocker and Georgia the Thursday before signing day. The next week, Georgia pulled the offer because of a numbers crunch, by which time Ole Miss had moved on, and Murchison ended up at N.C. State.
When Scott ended up at Georgia, Murchison could only marvel.
“That’s really weird,” Murchison said. “That would’ve been crazy, if Georgia had had a little more roster room, scholarship money-wise, that really would’ve been crazy to get to work with him at Georgia.”
As Jack McCoy once said, life is a funny old dog. But I digress.
From the limited feedback there, it sounds like Kirby thinks he’s getting a guy who’s approach meshes with Georgia’s defensive philosophy and who will make a determined effort on the recruiting trail. Given the speed of the hire, in fact, I’d say he believes that pretty strongly.